By JP Ashedzi
At Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Yesterday, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said that western liberal democracy has not been an effective system of government in Africa because it was forced on the continent.
He advocated what he called “Afro democracy” in place of western liberal democracy. Obasanjo spoke at a high-level consultation on ‘Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa’.
The event was attended by former Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Liyel Imoke (Cross River), and former Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, among others.
Obasanjo said the western style of democracy failed in Africa because it did not take into account the views of the majority of the people.
He noted that western liberal democracy is a “government of a few people over all the people or population, and these few people are representatives of only some of the people and not full representatives of all the people.”
According to him, African countries have no business operating a system of government in which they have no hand in its “definition and design”.
“Once you move from all the people to representatives of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems. For those who define it as the rule of majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected and excluded?
“We are here to stop being foolish and stupid. Can we look inward and outward to see what in our country, culture, tradition, practice, and living over the years that we can learn from, adopt and adapt with practices everywhere for a changed system of government that will serve our purpose better and deliver.
“We have to think out of the box and after, act with our new thinking. You are invited here to examine clinically the practice of liberal democracy, identify its shortcomings for our society and bring forth ideas and recommendations that can serve our purpose better, knowing human beings for what we are and going by our experiences and the experiences of others.
“We are here to think as leaders of thought in academia and leaders of thought with some experience in politics,” Obasanjo said.